Doggy Paddle





It's ON for tomorrow, Sunday 9th July 2017

Update, 8th July 2017, 5-50pm. 

River check has been completed and the DoggyPaddle is going ahead. See the point 3a (below) about the barford tree that has finally moved (portage no longer essential), but is still a bit awkward to paddle past.

IMPORTANT NOTE 1) At the paddles end, in Stratford-upon-Avon, there is a fun regatta taking place from the arched bridge to the theatre, involving 400m races. Please follow the advice of their marshals, keeping clear and giving priority to racers. The marshals will periodically close the river for brief races... Please be patient and enjoy watching the racers if you get held up. Also the DoggyPaddle finish will be slightly (100m) further downstream than usual, just past the chain ferry (and just past the theatres).

IMPORTANT NOTE 2) The event is now held in the fishing season, so please continue to be polite and courteous to all river users, on and off the water. The section after the Barford weir (the second weir) may have fishermen on the north bank (river right), so in general keep left unless otherwise instructed.

IMPORTANT NOTE 3) Charlecote house have requested that paddlers do NOT land or have lunch in their grounds, basically just either side of the sets of deer gates (which will be open again this year, for those of you with rudders). Please respect their wishes. Charlecote is half a mile after the third weir at Hampton Lucy (we recommend stopping for lunch at Hampton Lucy weir). I will put up some notices to remind people!!!

IMPORTANT NOTE 4) Warwick District Council have insisted we lock the start field when unattended. Hence the field will be locked from around 11am onwards. If you want to leave you car at the Leamington Spa end please either park in the nearby carpark (see link to a map just below, height restriction 2m or 6 foot 6 inches) or park considerately upon the nearby roads.

Alternative parking at the Start

IMPORTANT NOTE 5) The athletics ground toilets will only be open from 8am (the old toilet block is broken). The nearby Costa coffee drive though (CV31 3NT, 01926 316975) have kindly let us use their toilets prior to this!

Directions to Toilets at the nearby Costa Coffee Drive Through

See you on the water soon!

The Doggy Paddle is a recreational canoe and kayak event in aid of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. The trip runs from Royal Leamington Spa, along the rivers Leam and Avon, and ends in historic Stratford-upon-Avon. The run takes you through the spectacular grounds of Warwick Castle and Charlecote Manor, and at this time of the year we go out and get all the permissions so that you can run this beautiful and fascinating stretch of river.


This is a flat-water trip open to any competent paddler who is capable of paddling 18 miles (boats, paddles, etc, not provided. Use your own kit or hire it). The cost of entering the event is £10 for adults, £5 for under-18s (providing they are accompanied by an adult and capable of completing the trip). Please pay on the day at the sign-in desk. See the Doggy Paddle Instructions for details on the limited shuttle service available... ideally please sort yourselves out!


You can enter in advance by sending us the form below, or you can enter on the day. If you send us your form we will have a printed copy waiting for you at the check in and you can pay us then. If you prefer to wait you can still enter on the day.

The DoggyPaddle have a group on Facebook

The DoggyPaddle email address is, though please attempt to locate info here first!

The DoggyPaddle is run by Royal Leamington Spa Canoe Club and the GDBA.

The Leam Boat Centre, does hire equipment and normally leads a group down the DoggyPaddle route. Contact Matt at, 01926 88 99 28.



 All weirs will be marshalled... see pictures below...

1. Between 9:00 and 10:00 am, after signing-in, get on the water below the weir at Edmundscote Sports Field, CV32 6AG. Paddle the short distance along the river Leam until it enters the river Avon. Continue downstream.

2. When you reach the broken bridge beneath Warwick Castle you reach the only COMPULSORY portage. The portage route will be clearly marked on the left of the river-right weir. You must NOT under any circumstances shoot or play on the dangerous weirs at Warwick Castle. Do not approach either the waterwheel or the sluice.

Do NOT stop while at or near Warwick Castle, as the Trebuchet randomly throws a 1 ton concrete block over 300 meters and archers shoot arrows over the river!

3. After a few miles the river flows through Barford and the next weir on river right. Shoot this or short steep portage river right immediately after weir (by the greenhouse) to avoid carrying straight on, as there is a second dangerous weir straight on beyond the footbridge (we add a 'NO ENTRY' sign) - do not shoot or play in this very dangerous weir. Emergency route via house near the footbridge. After the right hand weir, paddle downstream to re-join the main river flow, soon reaching a small shallow rapid that runs slowly under the road bridge. Please be respectful to fishermen, generally keeping left unless otherwise instructed.

3a. The tree that has been blocking the river about 1 mile from Barford weir has finally moved. It can now be paddled past with care. We have created a sneak route on the right hand side of the 'river gap', since the tree is between a reed bed and a large bush. Take care when paddling (individually, room for one at a time) past this tree.

4. Not long to the next weir, river right, at Hampton Lucy Mill. This is the best place to stop for lunch. This can be shot or there is a portage on the river-right just before the weir. Note that once again there is a second dangerous weir (marked 'NO ENTRY') - do not shoot! Emergency route at road bridge. Phone box at church.

5. Soon after you pass through Charlecote House you will reach two sets of river-wide deer gates (2017 - these should be OPEN this year). You will see the large country Charlecote House on river-left and the joining of the river Deane with a rocky weir at its mouth. PLEASE do NOT land or stop for lunch in the Charlecote house grounds (basically anywhere between the deer gates), as doing so will jeopardise running future events. Emergency route via the Charlecote House paddock. Continue downstream.

6. A couple of miles after Charlecote Park you will find another shootable weir at Alveston with short steep portage on river-right immediately after the weir. Note there is a second dangerous weir straight on (marked 'NO ENTRY') - do not shoot or play in! Emergency route at campsite ½ mile downstream on river left

7. The river then meanders down towards Stratford Bridge, which carries the A3400 across the Avon. Beyond this on river-right is the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Carry on another 100m and get out river-left, just after the bowling green but before the ferry, CV37 7LS. There you will see the Doggy-Paddle tent. Congratulations - you've finished!

Barford Weir 

Hampton Lucy Weir

Charlecote deer gates (should be OPEN, so just paddle past)Alveston Weir

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